Subscribe to Dr. Deborah Barnett Subscribe to Dr. Deborah Barnett's comments

Posts tagged ‘depression’

The Values-in-Action (VIA) is a classification system and measurement of strengths created by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., Martin Seligman, Ph.D., Katherine Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., and other prominent psychologists. Through reading philosophical and religious texts from around the world, 6 core virtues: Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Love and Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Spirituality and Transcendence, were identified. These 6 core virtues having been taught or praised by almost all spiritual and philosophical traditions around the world and throughout time.  The reason these 6 virtues are highly regarded is that when practiced they form the foundation for good character in individuals.

Seligman and his colleagues realized that by identifying and utilizing one’s personal strengths, or character traits, one could develop and cultivate virtues.

In creating a classification of strengths, Seligman and his colleagues realized that once strengths are identified, they can then be consciously cultivated and developed.  A strength takes conscious effort to utilize in one’s daily actions. This differs from a talent, which is more innate.  When a strength is used when taking action, the result almost is always virtuous.

There are 24 signatures strengths.  By taking the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths, your strengths will be ranked, so that you can identify your top character strengths.

The benefits of utilizing character strengths include:

  • By taking action that utilizes one of your character strengths you will likely experience an increase in positive emotion
  • You will feel a sense of excitement when using your strength
  • You will feel fulfilled and energized by using your strength
  • The more conscious you are in using your strengths, the more and more ways you will come up with ways to cultivate your tops strengths

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them. In later posts, I look forward to exploring each of the strengths and suggesting some ways that you can incorporate them into life.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Positive Results
www.DeborahBarrnett.com

Many people from time to time feel blue, depressed, or anxious. For some people these emotions are a common experience. Whether depression or anxiety is familiar to you or a rare occurrence, it is helpful to have tools to pick yourself back up when needed.

Positivity Portfolio

One way to increase positive emotion is to create positivity portfolios for yourself. A positivity portfolio is a collection of items of your choosing that represent and remind you of a specific positive emotion. Each portfolio you create will represent one positive emotion. One portfolio may be on “serenity” another on “love,” etc.

Your positivity portfolio “container” may be a manila folder, a folder on an MP3 player, or a special box. Once you decide what positive emotion your first portfolio will represent for you, you can then fill your portfolio with items that lead you toward that positive emotion when you look at the items. For example, if your positivity portfolio is about “love” you might have in your portfolio:
A copy of a sweet email that you received from someone you love
Photos of loved ones
Love poems
Video clips that represent love to you
A love song
A lotion with a sent that makes you feel loved

Tips for creating and using your Positivity Portfolios:
You will want to ultimately make several positivity portfolios, for the various positive emotions you want to generate for yourself.
Be creative! If an item reminds you of the intended emotion, than it is fine to include!
Take your time when creating your portfolios. The creation process itself feels good!
Pull out one of your positivity portfolios when you feel the slighted hint of a negative emotion
Let your portfolios evolve – add and subtract items when necessary
Engage with your portfolios mindfully and with an open heart.

James Pawelski, director of education for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, came up with the idea of a positivity portfolio. This idea has now been researched by Barbara Frederickson of UNC Chapel Hill. Feel free to comment below and share how you have used your positivity portfolio(s).

Here’s to feeling good!

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.

There are many reasons that people seek mental health counseling in Asheville, NC (or in any other city for that matter.) Many people seek depression treatment or anxiety treatment. Others seek counseling for stress management or counseling for agoraphobia. Yet is that enough?

Imagine a scale from -5 to +5. If, when people are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, etc. they are in the negative numbers, when they get rid of depression or get rid of anxiety, they move up the scale to “0”.

It is great to be depression free or free of anxiety, but is it enough to be at “O?” What about experiencing positive emotions that occur in as people move up toward “+5?” This is where Positive Psychology research and treatment focuses. Positive Psychology helps individuals to increase their well-being, quality of life and happiness.

One Positive Psychology technique is to savor enjoyable, positive experiences. This can be as simple as having a cup of tea, taking a shower, or enjoying an evening stroll. Savoring an experiencing by noticing everything that is delightful about an experience, prolongs enhances the pleasure of participating in that experience.

So enjoy, savor an experience or two today and notice how you feel. You may find that you creep up into those positive emotions more easily that you would have expected.

If you enjoy savoring, there are several other Positive Psychology techniques you may enjoy.
Feel free to contact me and I can help you with your specific needs.

Yours in well-being,
Deborah
http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

Dispute Your Thoughts to Decrease Depression and Anxiety

You don’t have to put up with those pessimistic thoughts that run around in your head and can lead to depression and anxiety. Instead, you can dispute those thoughts to build optimism. I have shared this technique with my Asheville counseling clients and they have found it helpful. Think of the last time you were accused by a partner, family or friend of always being late. What do you do? Right away you likely come up with examples of when you were on time, in order to defend yourself and dispute the accusation.

This is what will fight off that depression and anxiety – disputing your own unsupportive thoughts.

We will use the ABCDE model to dispute a pessimistic thought. Below is an example that a woman might have if her best friend didn’t call for a while. See how, by disputing her pessimistic thoughts, the woman ends up feeling better by the time she has energized her new perspective on the situation.

A (Adversity)
“My best friend hasn’t called me in 2 weeks.”

B (Belief)
“She must be angry at me.”

C (Consequence)
“I feel sad and confused. What did I do to upset her? Did I say something wrong? How could I be so stupid that I can’t even remember what it was and it really hurt her? Why can’t I get relationships right? I don’t want to go that party tomorrow, because our friends will be there and I know they will give me the cold shoulder.”

D (Dispute)
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on myself? Maybe I said something and she just misunderstood what I meant? Maybe she is feeling alone and wishing I would call her? Maybe she is feeling really down and needs a good friend to support her right now? I think I will call her and see if she needs my help. She has said that I am good at cheering her up.

E (Energize)
The truth is we have a great friendship and I am a good friend most of the time. We have so much fun when we are together. Maybe I will call her and tell her a funny story. It is so much fun laughing with her. I think I’ll go call her right now.
This is one example of how to decrease pessimism and the resulting depression and anxiety that can follow.

For more suggestions on how to decrease pessimism, depression and anxiety, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you. http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

positive psychology asheville, NCOne of approaches I use most prominently with the clients in my Asheville counseling practice is Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is an emerging focus in the field of psychology.  The focus of Positive Psychology is on researching and then implementing findings on what supports individuals, communities and countries to thrive.

I was very fortunate to attend the first World Congress on Positive Psychology in Philadelphia, June 18th through the 21st. The energy of being in a conference with over 15,000 positive individuals all focused on learning about positive psychology and the latest developments in researching well-being was electrifying.

One of the most well-researched Positive Psychology interventions to reduce depressive symptoms and to increase well-being is the 3 Blessings exercise. To try this exercise, each evening before you go to bed, write down 3 things that went well that day and why they went well.

Feel free to share with me your experience of doing this exercise, by leaving a comment below.

I look forward to sharing more positive psychology tools and resources in upcoming posts.

For information about counseling sessions in Asheville, NC or consulting and coaching sessions by phone go to Deborah Barnett’s psychology website.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.

Increase your well-being with Dr. Deb

Increase your well-being with Dr. Deb

Hello Welcome to my Blog!

In this blog I will share tips you can utilize to enhance your life and experience more joy and success.  Topics will include ways to increase happiness, ease stress and anxiety, decrease depression,  improve your relationship with your spouse or partner,  and interact more effectively with family, friends and coworkers.

I offer phone consulting and coaching to individuals and groups. For those who live in, or are visiting Western North Carolina, I offer in-person psychotherapy sessions in Asheville, North Carolina. With my degree in Transpersonal psychology and positive psychology orientation, I focus on assisting individuals in identifying their strenghts, thus allowing them to experience personal empowerment, greater optimism and increased well-being.

Please feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments section of this blog and I will be happy to answer them or point you toward resources that may be beneficial for you.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology in Asheville, NC
Phone Coaching for Personal Growth and Relationship Success
www.DeborahBarnett.com